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Stumbling block in AIADMK merger move; OPS faction wants

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Though Panneerselvam commanded the support of just about 12 of the party's 134 MLAs, there has been public anger among the AIADMK supporters who hold Sasikala responsible for Jayalalithaa's conviction in a disproportionate assets case.

Efforts to unite the AIADMK factions picked up speed after Delhi Police filed a case against Dinakaran for trying to bribe the Election Commission to allot his faction the now frozen "two leaves" election symbol.

A Delhi Court had earlier on Monday sent Sukesh Chandrashekhar, the middleman alleged of striking a deal of Rs. 50 crore to help the AIADMK faction keep the "two leaves" poll symbol, to eight-day long police custody.

The OPS camp also said that the resignation must come in the form of resignation letters from Sasikala and Dinakaran, who she appointed as her deputy before being jailed for corruption. "We wanted the doubts to be cleared on Jayalalithaa's death", he said reiterating that they began this dharma yudh with two conditions - a judicial probe into Amma's death and removing Sasikala's family.

Political commentator TS Sudhir says in an article published recently: " It is logical for EPS campers to believe that in the post-Sasikala era, they can be on the right side of the BJP, replacing Panneerselvam". If they had called me for the meeting, I would have gone. All 128 AIADMK MLAs are staying united and favour a merger.

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AIADMK sources said that the decision to "keep out" Sasikala and Dinakaran was taken during a meeting held at the residence of Chief Minister E.K. Palaniswami, and attended by 12 Ministers, six MLAs and two MPs.

"Even party elections are conducted, the cadres will ask OPS (Panneerselvam) to contest for general secretary post", Munusamy said.

These demands from the former chief minister's camp come after comments by senior AIADMK (Amma) leader and Lok Sabha deputy speaker M. Thambidurai that Edappadi Palaniswami will continue as the chief minister. While addressing the media amid the rumours of a possible merger with the Sasikala faction, O Panneerselvam said that Jayalalithaa's legacy is the foremost for us and asked both the factions to unite. So, we will not rest until the Sasikala family is thrown out of the AIADMK. "But if there are elections, Panneerselvam will definitely win".

He also said as everybody made a decision to keep him out of the party affairs, he has chose to stay out. "I will never go against the AIADMK", he said.

It will also have to decide who should be general secretary and whether his role vis -vis the Chief Minister should be redefined.

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